Inkjet printers get better and cheaper


Lexmark's new 5700 color inkjet printer is a good example of the advances made in moderately priced printers in the past year or so.

The quality this $250 printer produces is amazing. It will produce 1,200 dots per inch (dpi), although this resolution appears no better to the naked eye than the standard 600 dpi at normal type sizes.

Color printing is also extremely nice, even on ordinary paper stock using the standard color cartridge. It is by far the best of any printer I've tried in this price range.

Speed on black-and-white text is certainly competitive; Lexmark claims up to eight pages a minute. Color, of course, is slow; a full-page photograph I printed at the highest quality took more than 10 minutes. That doesn't bother me; there have to be trade-offs somewhere.

A little more bothersome in terms of trade-offs is the light-gauge plastic of which the machine is made. Also, it takes up more room on the desktop, when the paper-catching tray is extended, than other inkjets I've looked at.

There is only one control on the printer - a paper-feed button - and one light. There is no off-on switch. This isn't a problem for me, since everything in my system except for the computer itself is controlled by the switch on a power strip. After it's been on for a while without use, the printer goes into a sleep mode, and the TC light goes off. It comes on when the printer is addressed and blinks if there's a problem.

Pub Date: 5/04/98

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